Gawanas uses birthday presents to revamp clinic

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Selma Ikela

Groot Aub-For her 60th birthday presents, Advocate Bience Gawanas told her family and friends that whatever they wanted to give her, they should give it to the residents of Groot Aub.

She asked for pledges that would enable her to refurbish Groot Aub Clinic. Groot Aub settlement is situated about 60 km south of Windhoek and has an estimated population of 20 000 people. The clinic handles about 200 patients per day. During her birthday party last year, on August 16, her friends and family pledged and contributed towards her cause.

She received N$35 000 in cash, which was used to re-paint the walls and to buy materials for new curtains and shelves as well as pay for the labour.

Individuals also donated computer desks, a delivery bed and waiting room bench, among others.

Gawanas said she has no connection to the settlement.
She contacted the clinic officials, who in turn gave her a list of what they required. She started working on the clinic after her birthday and on Saturday handed over the revamped clinic to health deputy minister Juliet Kavetuna, who donated the waiting room bench.

“I didn’t want to give a donation by buying something and then hand it over. I wanted to be part of the process,” remarked Gawanas, who travelled to the settlement once a week to monitor progress on the work. She started with the re-organisational of the clinic in order to know what needed to be done.

She brought in a plumber, electrician and carpenter.She also transformed the yard of the clinic by building a rockery in the place where a heap of dirt used to lie.

“I feel great I could do something for the community. It’s not the big things but small initiative that makes a difference in people’s lives.”

She further explained that they chose green paint for the interior, which represents life, growth, freshness and fertility, among others.

“To all friends and family, I really want to thank you sincerely. I feel that whenever I give, I get back so much in return,” said Gawanas in the presence of close friends and family.

The nurse-in-charge at the clinic, Naftal Simeon, said with the arrival of the delivery bed they are ready to handle an emergency delivery anytime. Previously, the clinic used an examination bed for patients to deliver babies. He revealed the challenge they have with ambulance services, as Groot Aub shares one vehicle with Dordabis and Baumgartsbrunn and, according to Simeon, it can take two to four hours before an ambulance arrives to pick up the mother and baby and transport them to Windhoek.

Simeon added that last month they had five emergency deliveries at the clinic. He said the clinic offers all services ranging from general screening, immunisation, family planning, pap smear, TB treatment and follow-up and provides antiretroviral services.

Chief Administrative Officer for Khomas Health directorate, Peter Louw, said Gawanas lifted a financial burden from their work and made the work easier for them. “We had challenges fixing broken pipes and other minor repairs because we have a limited budget.”

Kavetuna commended Gawanas for thinking of the next person. She said with efforts and assistance such as this, the country would go a long way.

“Let’s replicate the same, every drop we put in the ocean can fill it,” remarked Kavetuna.

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